Yaeji Does Demolition and Deconstructs Electronic Music in New Album “With A Hammer”

Yaeji 2023 photo
Photo by Dasom Han

It might be surprising that after about six years of being in the spotlight, electronic singer and DJ / producer Yaeji finally released her debut album, With A Hammer, ahead of upcoming Coachella and US shows. To this day, tracks like “raingurl” and the Drake remix “Passionfruit” still garner attention for her. But they’re nowhere near as self-assured and refreshing in their inspirations as the songs on Yaeji’s new album.


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Emerging out of the horns in dialogue on “Submerge FM” comes one of the most forward-thinking voices in electronic music, whose ability to effortlessly move between English and Korean language lyrics without alienating either audience attests to why Yaeji is sure to be widely embraced.


Though the lyrics are there to punctuate Yaeji’s emotions, the production is just as vital in evoking feelings, sometimes more so. While the opener began from a place of calm and ease, “For Granted” opted for more bounce and a scatterbrain drum breakdown. From the first two tracks alone, the album’s strong suit becomes apparent: Within real-time, the album builds upon itself, expanding its electronic mecha suit with new modifications and welcomed switch-ups. “Fever” disrupts the so-far-established lounge leisure thanks to what sounds like clown honks in the song’s instrumental. On top of that, Yaeji takes the drum breakdown from the prior track and goes full-on breakbeat, tapping into her penchant for making crowds move solely through basic building blocks.

artist to watch in 2023

Title track “With A Hammer” subverts the early songs that made Yaeji’s career, only to demolish them in the process, albeit with softness rather than intensity. One of the most infectious earworm quirks on the album comes from this track, where the bubbled bass pops to the rhythm of the drums and jumps the tempo from an otherwise soothing atmosphere. But it’s “Happy” that shows Yaeji come into her own. With the help of Nourished by Time, the song offers quieter moments, giving some breathable space between Yaeji and Nourished by Time. That doesn’t mean the track is background noise, far from it. Yaeji gives artists like Channel Tres a run for their money by providing dance music new life in her atmospheric and jazz sound.


If it wasn’t obvious already, Yaeji has her hands on every aspect of the music. Whether it’s writing, producing, engineering, or many other things beyond a 10-finger count, she strings everything together in a cohesive and early frontrunner for the best electronic album of the year. The approach to the album feels somewhat reminiscent of early Trent Reznor, who buried himself album after album in the industrial hellscapes that made Nine Inch Nails music so special. As for Yaeji, the pop inspirations behind With A Hammer allow her to lie afloat at the top, never sinking or losing her unique creative voice.

Words: David Sosa

With A Hammer by Yaeji is out on all streaming services. Tickets to Yaeji’s April and May shows are available now. Follow Yaeji on Instagram, Twitter, and her website for news on upcoming music and tour dates.